There are few things in life as certain as the fact that you can’t go wrong with giving toys and/or games for the holidays. We’ve put some of our favorites this year together in a nifty holiday gift guide just for you!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Electronic Toy
It feels like we are mere hours away from finding out if these guardians of Ahch-To Island/Brundleflyian fusions of penguins and pugs live up to the hype. But even if they fizzle out Snakes on a Plane-style we can’t help but think that already Porgs are a success for the way that they have overcome their Ewok 2.0 roots to become a unique phenomenon of their own. We suppose what we are saying here is that, narrative strength or not, Porgs have already become a part of the new Star Wars mythos. So you may as well hop aboard the hype train and pass one off to a Star Warrior you know come Christmas morning.
Playmobil Ghostbusters Ecto-1
With apologies to Lego lovers out there, our favorite construction toy line this year has been Playmobil’s Ghostbusters offerings. The various mini-figures and sets they’ve released show not only a clear understanding of the toyetic appeal of the license, but a general love for the characters and environments from the movie. This is nowhere as evident as with the Ecto-1 vehicle that comes equipped with light and sound features, Winston and Janine figures, and even little slime accessories that can be added or removed as play dictates. The video above shows you the Ecto-1 in action and this, when combined with the other entries in the lineup, rank among the best Ghostbusters toys ever made. And this is not a claim made lightly.
DC Collectibles Batman Expression Pack Action Figure
Here’s a fantastic gift idea from DC Collectibles: An action figure from Batman: The Animated Series that lets you change the Caped Crusader’s appearance by changing his heads and capes. Just think of the fun you can have making his mood match your own. Our personal favorite? The shocked looked featured in the upper right. It pretty much nails what we look like whenever we turn on CNN these days.
Batman the Animated Series: Batcave Playset
The closest you’ll ever get to being inside the Batcave is this beautiful playset from DC Collectibles that includes everything you see in the video above and an exclusive Alfred figure from Batman: The Animated Series. The Bat Computer comes with interchangable screens and it lights up, all the better to illuminate Gotham City’s various evildoers.
Star Wars Battlefront II
Microtransaction controversies aside, Star Wars Battlefront II is still the hottest video game of the holiday season. You want it. Your friends want it. This is all very understandable. So we don’t need to take up valuable Internet real estate telling you why its rad. Instead, here’s what we want to know: How come nobody ever made a Star Wars mod of the classic arcade game Tapper? Think about it, it could have Wuher the bartender racing around the Creature Cantina trying to serve drinks to the likes of Hammerhead (Nagamaroo!) and Walrus Man. In the background, Han could be seen shooting Greedo. This sounds like bliss. I mean, Battlefront IIis clearly great, but 8-bit glasses of blue milk sliding down a bar? Where do we sign up?
Planet of the Apes Monopoly
They did it! They finally did it! They created a Planet of the Apes-themed Monopoly. Highlighted by whimsical art from Dave Perillo (whose art is regularly featured in Gallery 1988’s Crazy 4 Cult shows) brings a retro simian twist to the board game night staple that will please every ape you see from chimpan-a to chimpanzee.
Stranger Things Eggo Card Game
Is there a better gift to give than corporate synergy? Yes, just about every possible gift, dummy! But that hasn’t stopped Hasbro, Netflix, and Kellogg’s from forming a Voltron Lion of cross-promotion for the Stranger Things Eggo Card Game. This Uno-esque title has players choosing one of the show’s characters and try to get rid of their cards and escape from the Upside Down. Better that than the futile real-life exercise that is trying to escape new and innovative branding opportunities.
Kid Flash Action Figure
Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West/Kid Flash is a highpoint of The CW’s The Flash. DC Collectibles has just released a fantastic 6 3/4″ action figure of the character that includes three pairs of interchangable hands. And speaking of hands, we bet you can’t wait to get yours on this awesome figure, amirite ladies and germs? Hello? Is this thing on?
Coolbaby Mini Console
Since Nintendo has seemingly gone out of its way to make their HDMI-ready NES and Super NES Classic consoles available to consumers, some people are taking matters into their own hands. Meet the Coolbaby Mini Console. It looks and plays like the NES Classic, but is actually easier to get. And, oh yeah, it also features 600 different games. (Mainly modded variations of a few different titles though like the Super Mario Brothers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games). We don’t know if any of this is legal, but we can say that these things are up on Amazon, so yeah, there you go.
Super Mario Odyssey
In the interest of fairness here’s a non-dubious Nintendo-related offering: Super Mario Odyssey! The latest breakout game for the Switch gives Mario’s iconic hat a name (Cappy) and magical abilities (possession!), and is an enthralling universe of its own that is bold enough to have its cake and occasionally transform it into an 8-bit retro party too. The only problem is after a game this much fun — check out our review here — how can Mario possibly top himself? That’s a problem for another holiday season, because you’ll be too busy having fun playing to wonder.
Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Rey and BB-8 Adventure Set
This year, Hasbro debuted their Star Wars: Forces of Destiny line, an assortment that aims to “bridge the gap between traditional action figures and dolls, opening up a new play experience for Star Wars fans of all ages and genders.” It was a welcome and progressive move that showcases how the space saga exists for everybody. Helping matters further is the great design of the 11-inch figures in the femalecentric character line (which also includes Jyn Erso and Princess Leia), which faithfully captures the look of the accompanying Forces of Destiny cartoon shorts.
The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31
Even those among you who are feeling weird and pissed off (a perfectly reasonable attitude given the state of, well, everything) have to concede that pop culture-wise there has never been a better time to be alive. Just take a look at the entries on this list, it’s a golden age for geekery. For example, never in our wildest dreams did we think there would be a strategy board game based on John Carpenter’s The Thing. Or Big Trouble in Little China for that matter. Yet games based on these box office bombs-turned-cult classics exist. And to paraphrase the immortal Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, and if that isn’t a true blue miracle, we don’t know what one is.
Come Home, Snoopy! Colorforms
Imagination is still the greatest plaything of all. I mean, good luck telling that to your kids if they expect a PlayStation on Christmas morning, but that cliched old adage still has plenty of truth to it. Maybe that’s why Colorforms are experiencing a bit of a comeback. Throughout the year the childhood favorite has been making something of a return by reissuing a few of their classic sets, including this one based on Peanuts. Vinyl pieces that stick and lift like magic don’t have much cultural currency for children in 2017, but give this to the nostalgic fortysomething in your life and watch how big of a smile you get in response.